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Check Out Benjamin Shiff’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Benjamin Shiff.

Hi Benjamin, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I grew up loving Disney movies and musicals- where characters get to sing songs about how they feel, and it makes the story feel bigger. I loved that characters could say exactly how they felt, and it made me instantly relate to other people. When I got to college, I knew I wanted to create a musical that could help people connect to each other, as art and musicals have the power to do. I then realized that I should apply what made me love musicals into the creation of something new. I loved how musicals helped me connect and empathize with others, so I decided to create a podcast that does just that. On every episode, someone shares a true story from their life, and I retell that story as a musical. For the guest, it is a chance to revisit and reconnect with the past and a chance to realize that their story is as significant and important as the stories on the biggest stages of broadway. For the audience, it is a way to connect with others, all while listening to new musical work. Right now, we are finishing off our first season and prepping for season two.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
It takes a lot of work to produce every episode! When you are dealing with people’s personal stories, it takes a certain amount of gravity. You aren’t just playing with an idea in your head, but an idea that is connected to someone’s life. On top of that gravity, I am writing songs, interviewing guests, producing/mixing the instrumentals, and putting all the pieces together. Overall, I pour so much into each episode that it takes a while to produce each season.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I came to my love of storytelling by being a volunteer first. Working with children who have special needs, I learned that we could connect through art. I would put on one-man shows, play guitar, or create little home videos to hold their attention. I learned that entertainment isn’t just entertaining but helps people from all backgrounds and levels of experience connect. I set out to create art that helps people connect, which is why I studied both Communication and Film in college (to understand how to tell a great story, but also the way a well-told story can impact the world when properly disseminated).

Professionally, I have used that goal to help people connect through stories that matter. I have written songs for various cabaret shows and revues, most often from the perspective of siblings of those with special needs or outcasts wanting to be a part of the party (you can hear those on the podcast). Those values are also true for my film work, like the web series’ Ensemble or “Swearing”, a Filipina-American coming of age comedy, which will be released soon!

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